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Trvy & The Enemy: Hip-Hop Artist Talks Songwriter Award and Psychedelic EP

Trvy & The Enemy. Credit: Ryan Orebaugh

An intense clash of mind and body, candor and comedy are integral elements lying at the heart of Trevor Wiggins’ live performances, especially when it comes to delivering his lyrics. 

“I leave my head when I’m on stage,” he says. “My words become muscle memory, and I never know what I’m going to say with my in-between-song banter. We were playing a show in Savannah a few nights ago, and I took some mushrooms,” he laughs. “When I got on the mic, I was like, ‘Hey everybody, I took some shrooms! I hope everybody loves themselves!’” 

For the 32-year-old Habersham County-born Athens transplant, best known by his stage name Trvy, his larger-than-life personality carries his songs a long way. So does his monolithic presence. “I’m just this big dude that no one expects to do what he’s about to do,” he explains. “I know it disarms people when they see me and, I’m just up on stage trying to have some fun.” 

Trvy is a rapper first and foremost. He’s also a producer who studied recording and engineering at the Atlanta Institute of Music, and he’s one of those rare individuals who maintains an impeccable grasp on all facets of creating music, from the studio to the stage—so much so that he’s cranked out more songs than he can accurately recall since he moved to Athens in 2016. 

Brianna Mobley

In May, he was named winner of the 2023 Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of the Year Award for his song titled “The Cost,” in which he offers: “Lately I’m swimming out of my element / Depths that I been reaching got me dancing with the devil / What’s the cost of a soul’s worth?”

The singular honor, awarded by the Rotary Club of the Classic City of Athens, falls on the heels of a short list of previous winners that includes artists such as politically charged rapper Mariah Parker (Linqua Franqa), introspective songwriter Andrew Huang, aka Andrew Blooms, and Jim Willingham of psych-folk outfits Old Smokey and Ham1.

Like Vic Chesnutt, the late, Athens-based folk singer after whom the award is named, Trvy wraps complex emotions into stripped-down, sometimes playful, sometimes pensive numbers. His plaintive voice commands raw intensity, creating a space where everything that one could and should say goes into a song.

“No matter the controversy, no matter anything else, if you need to say something, say it,” Wiggins offers over the phone while taking a break from an afternoon band practice with the most recent outfit that he fronts, called Trvy & The Enemy.

Curi G. Ahmyo Trvy & The Enemy

Over the course of five songs bearing titles such as “Legend,” “Alldogs” and “Repeat,” the group’s self-titled, self-released debut EP, coming out June 20, blends hip hop with a Southern drawl and psychedelic rock that culminates in a spare and ultramodern sound that defies easy comparison to other artists.  

The group seems to have stumbled onto a new permutation of creativity in their blend of rock, hip hop and psychedelia. Still, there’s an uncanny familiarity to each song that resonates within the group’s rhythms, rhymes and sonic textures.

Together with bass player James Stickney, guitar player Robbie Rapp and drummer Rio Crane, Trvy & The Enemy’s array of rhythmic acrobatics—few of which anyone else has managed to summon with such presence—culminate in meaningful, experimental songs that flow with an emotionally-charged conviction. Songs such as “Sober” and “Repeat” lie steeped in slowly mounting tension and ambiance that conveys any and all messages through glowing sounds and repetition.

To be sure, Trvy is a kindred spirit to Vic Chesnutt, albeit their respective times in Athens’ music scenes are separated by time, space and even musical genres, but there is no denying that the two have an awful lot in common.

“I didn’t really know too much about him until I was nominated for the Vic Chesnutt award last year,” Wiggins says. “Later, I found out that a good friend of mine is a huge fan of his music and knew him. When I won the award he said to me, ‘Man, you have to understand—I know that you never met Vic Chesnutt, but he would have really liked you. He would like everything about you!’”

WHO: Classic City Rotary and Vic Chestnutt Awards Present: Trvy
WHEN: Friday, June 23, 10 p.m.
WHERE: The Globe

WHO: ATHfactor, Volumes & On The Planet Productions Present: Trvy & The Enemy
WHEN: Saturday, June 24, 11:10 p.m.
WHERE: Live Wire Athens